CONVENTION CONCERNING THE PROTECTION OF THE WORLD
CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE
World Heritage Committee
First Extraordinary Session
Paris, 10 and 11 September 1981
REPORT OF THE RAPPORTEUR
1. The first extraordinary session of the World Heritage Committee was held at Unesco Headquarters in Paris on 10 and 11 September 1981, at the request of seventeen States members of the Committee which also requested that the meeting deal with two items : the election of two Vice-Chairmen to the Bureau and the inscription of "the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls" on the World Heritage List.
2. The meeting was attended by the following States members of the World Heritage Committee : Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Guinea, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Nepal, Pakistan, Senegal, Switzerland, Tunisia, United States of America and Zaire. Representatives of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) attended the meeting in an advisory capacity. Observers from sixteen States Parties to the Convention not members of the Committee also attended the session, as well as observers from six international organizations, invited in accordance with the decision of the Committee. The full list of participants is to be found in Annex I to this report.
proceedings of the fifth session of the Bureau. The Assistant Director- General informed the Committee that Mr. Parent, who had been elected Chairman at the fourth session of the Committee, felt that because he had recently been elected President of ICOMOS he could no longer continue to chair the Committee and that, according to Rule 14.2 of the Rules of Procedure, he was to be replaced by a Vice-Chairman, in the English alphabetical order of States members of the Committee, for the remainder of the term of office. The Ambassador of Australia, Mr. R. Slatyer, was accordingly invited to act as Chairman until the beginning of the fifth ordinary session of the Committee and to take the chair, which he proceeded to do.
4. On the proposal of the Chairman, the Committee adopted the agenda of the session.
III. ELECTION OF TWO VICE-CHAIRMAN
5. The Chairman explained that two Vice-Chairmen were to be elected to replace Ghana and Yugoslavia which, in accordance with Rule 12.1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Committee, had not been able to remain in office after the end of the 21st session of the General Conference. The Committee elected by acclamation Bulgaria and Senegal as Vice-Chairmen.
9. The representative of Jordan presented the nomination with the following statement :
The value that Jerusalem represents for the three religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam was the only possible explanation for the unanimous decision of your Committee in its 4th session of September 1980 to take 'info consideration the nomination presented by the H. K. of Jordan concerning the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls in all its cultural and human aspects'.
The Committee was in full agreement in appreciating their unique importance in view of the universal values they represent from the religious, historical, architectural and artistic points of view.
The Committee decided to open the established procedure for the examination of this proposal for the inscription of the Old City and its Walls on the World Heritage List.
In the same spirit the General Conference of UNESCO in its 21st session adopted a resolution 4/14 in which it recommends to your very Committee 'to speed up the procedure for including the City of Jerusalem on the World Heritage List'.
Since the decision of your Committee in its 4th session, Jordanian specialists have been able to complete the technical file on the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls, which was presented to the Secretariat on December 16, 1980. This file was later studied by ICOMOS, which in turn in its document No. 148 recommended to the Bureau of this Committee to accept the Jordanian nomination.
The reason why this extraordinary session of your Committee is held is the attempt of some colleague members of the Bureau to go back on the decision taken unanimously by your Committee at its 4th session. Despite this decision, despite the recommendation of the General Conference and despite even the recommendation for inscription made by the ICOMOS, those colleagues instead of studying the technical aspects of the nomination, as were expected to do, chose to deal with irrelevant complicated questions, that are neither within the competence of the Bureau nor of the Committee.
Jordan agreed during the discussions of the Bureau to all additions made by ICOMOS. Our letters addressed to the Chairman of your Committee and the Director-General of UNESCO and the Secretariat show clearly Jordan's adherence to the Recommendation concerning the safeguarding and contemporary role of historic areas.
I ask you to consider this nomination in the spirit of the unique value of Jerusalem. I ask you to stay within your competence. Jordan is not using this Committee or your deliberations as a vehicle for political claims. We realize and you should realize that the status of Jerusalem cannot be decided in your Committee. It is up to other international organs to decide on this very complicated issue. I appeal to you for the sake of humanity and its heritage, to stay within your competence, and accept the Jordanian request for the inclusion of the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls on the World Heritage List."
of inscription to questions related to the status of Jerusalem and to questions of sovereignty and jurisdiction. Although it was recognized that Article 11(3) of the Convention existed to cover these matters, these speakers were concerned that there should be no implicit or explicit recognition of the sovereignty of any State associated with the inscription. The United States Delegation objected explicitly to the nomination by Jordan as not conforming with the articles of the Convention which provide that the nominating State submit only those sites which are "situated in its territory", which require that the consent of "the State concerned" be obtained and which require that the nominating State provide an effective plan for the protection and management of the site. This delegation asked other delegations to join in rejecting an impermissible nomination.
14. At the end of the debate on file No. 148 Rev. presented by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Committee decided to inscribe the Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls on the World Heritage List.
15. The above-mentioned decision was the subject of a vote by roll- call, the result of which was as follows : 14 for, 1 against and 5 abstentions. The representatives of nine States members of the Committee explained their votes; their statements, in extenso or in summarized form, are to be found in Annex IV. The observer from Chile wished to address the meeting concerning the inscription of the Old City of Jerusalem on the World Heritage List; since the decision on that question had already been taken by the Committee, his request was not considered receivable and he was asked to transmit his statement in writing to the Chairman who would ensure that it was added to the file.
16. In closing the extraordinary session, the Chairman reminded members of the Committee of its forthcoming 5th ordinary session in Sydney from 26 to 30 October 1981. He said that Australia was looking forward to hosting the meeting and hoped that, to the greatest possible extent, States Members of the Committee would endeavour to include in their delegations experts in the cultural and natural heritage.
On the occasion of the extraordinary session of the World Heritage Committee, to be held in Paris on 10 and 11 September 1981 to examine the nomination submitted by my country and registered on 16 December 1980 under Identification nº 148 Rev., concerning the inclusion of the "Old City of Jerusalem (Al-Quds) and its Walls" on the World Heritage List, I have the honour to bring the following to your attention.
At its meeting in May 1981, the Bureau of the Committee, apprised of the favourable recommendation of ICOMOS, took note of the agreement of my country to include in the list of monuments contained in Annex III to the above-mentioned file, the buildings whose addition had been recommended by ICOMOS. I therefore have the honour to forward to you, in the attached document, the information requested, drawing your attention to the fact that my country has every confidence in the distinguished representative of ICOMOS and endorses all the factual details that, as a man of science and integrity, he may consider useful to provide on this technical Annex to the file.
I should be grateful if you would inform the members of the Committee of the terms of this letter at the opening of the discussion, so that the debate may focus on essentials.
Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Addendum to Annex III
It should be recalled that in a town like the old city of Jerusalem, it is difficult to select a group of monuments, even as a cross-section. Historical periods, significant monuments, manifestations of civilization, art and culture and religious sites are so closely interwoven that a partial inventory runs the risk of appearing partisan.
The 220 monuments identified in the Medina of Jerusalem do not therefore constitute an exhaustive or complete list.
As recommended by ICOMOS, the following six monuments could be added :
1. The walls of the period of Herod the Great, today incorporated in the perimeter of the Haram al-Sharif and of which the Wailing Wall still remains, and the enormous vaulted substructures now known as the Stables of Solomon.
2. The northern arcature of the portal of Aelia Capitolina, known since the XVIth Century as the "Ecce Homo" Arch.
Nowadays incorporated in the choir of the basilica of Our Lady of Zion, near the Second Station of the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross), it is one of the rare vestiges of the triumphal arches erected by Emperor Hadrian after the capture of Jerusalem and the foundation of a Roman colony known as Aelia Capitolina.
3. The Ramban Synagogue, built in the Jewish quarter of the Medina, towards the end of the XIVth Century, not far from the Suq el-Hussor (Mat Market).
4. The Ben Zakkai Synagogue, built around 1606 to 1610 in the same area and initially restricted to the principal Jewish community of the town, the "Sephardim".
5. The Synagogue of Elijah the Prophet, built from 1615 to 1625, with a large dome.
6. Lastly, still in the same area, the Stamboulli Synagogue, the largest of all, built around 1740.
1. The following statement was made by the Australian Delegation :
"Thank you Mr. Chairman. The Australian Delegation fully appreciates the great importance of the Old City of Jerusalem. We believe that it is worthy of inclusion in the World Heritage List and we had hoped that the circumstances would have permitted us to cast a favourable vote on the decision just taken by the Committee.
Our abstention was made after careful consideration of the issue in the context of the Articles of the Convention and in the light of the political dispute which surrounds the Old City. Delegations will be aware that Australia regards the status of Jerusalem as undetermined and the question of sovereignty as unresolved and to be a matter which should be resolved in the context of an overall settlement of the Middle East question. We do not recognize any claims to sovereignty over Old Jerusalem as a basis for action under the Convention.
We noted with appreciation the statement of the Jordanian Delegate that Jordan seeks to gain no recognition of any claims of sovereignty through this nomination. However, we believe that the decision does not satisfy the concern that has been expressed by several delegations as well as ourselves that the inclusion of the Old City on the World Heritage List should have been accompanied by a declaration stating that inscription carried no explicit or implicit endorsement of any claim to sovereignty.
Mr. Chairman, we are also aware of the damage that undue politicization of the issue could cause to the reputation and effectiveness of the Committee and the Convention and we consider that the decision that the Committee has just taken does not take sufficient account of this problem. Thank you Mr. Chairman".
2. The representative of Cyprus made the following statement :
"Cyprus has voted in favour of the inscription of Jerusalem on the World Heritage List because of the pre-eminent claims of that City on religious and cultural grounds to feature on the List.
In casting our affirmative vote, we also register our agreement with statements by the distinguished representative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and by other members of the Committee to the effect that this inscription is in accordance with the objectives of the World Heritage Convention and has no political implications."
3. The representative of the Arab Republic of Egypt made the following statement :
"The delegation of the Arab Republic of Egypt voted in favour of including the Old City of Jerusalem on the World Heritage List in application of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and in affirmation of the fact that
Egypt considers the occupied city of Jerusalem to be Arab sovereign territory".
4. The representative of France recalled that throughout the session his delegation had sought a special solution whereby the Committee would not find itself divided by considerations of a legal or political nature. It had proposed a number of alternatives, believing that a completely fresh formula might have the advantage of being acceptable to all delegations. His abstention during the vote did not in any way signify a lack of appreciation on the part of the French delegation of the universal value of the site of Jerusalem from the historical, cultural and religious points of view.
5. The representative of the Federal Republic of Germany stated that he believed that it would have been possible to obtain the inclusion of the Old City of Jerusalem on the World Heritage List on the grounds of its outstanding universal cultural value without attributing the application to any individual State. He expressed the hope that the problem of the legal status of Jerusalem, which, he stated, was as yet regrettably unresolved, would soon be resolved.
6. The following statement was made by the representative of Italy :
"It was with the greatest regret, Mr. Chairman, that Italy abstained during the vote on the inclusion of the Old City of Jerusalem in the World Heritage List. I do not consider it necessary in this forum to give proof of the respect, consideration and indeed affection in which the Italian people hold this shrine of three great cultures and of three great religions, including their own. This is why, although we did not participate in the discussion, which was already exhaustive enough, we spared no effort in trying to find a formula likely to receive general approval. I remain convinced that this would not have been impossible. This only serves to heighten our regret that the inscription of Jerusalem should take place under conditions which, with a final effort of goodwill, could have been avoided, since no one contests the right of Jerusalem to appear in any list of cultural property whose preservation merits a general pooling of efforts".
7. The representative of Nepal made the following statement :
"While supporting the proposal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to nominate Jerusalem to the World Heritage List, Nepal has expressed its support purely on cultural grounds. We are of the view that Jerusalem as a site is undeniably of universal cultural heritage value and should be included in the World Heritage List. But we would like to put on record that inclusion in the List should in no way be regarded as a means for registering the political or sovereignty claims by any states associated with the inscription".
8. The representative of Switzerland refereed to the exceptional cultural and historical importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and stated that he would have wished to vote in favour of its inscription in the World Heritage List for these entirely objective reasons. In the form in which it had been presented, however, the decision called for did not take account of the specific legal aspects of the issue. He further stated that "the Swiss Government is of the opinion that the Old City of Jerusalem is situated neither on Jordanian nor on Israeli territory. According to the partition plan drawn up by the United Nations in 1947, the former mandated territory of Palestine was to become an independent Palestinian Arab State, and a special status of corpus separatum was envisaged for Jerusalem. In consequence, neither Israel nor Jordan are entitled to claim sovereignty over the Old City of Jerusalem".
9. The representative of the United States of America made the following statement :
"The U.S. delegation wishes to be associated with the remarks of earlier speakers which emphasized the recognition of the universal cultural and historical value of Jerusalem important to all mankind.
My delegation would like to reiterate that the U.S. position on this issue does not reflect in any way on the high esteem the U.S. delegation holds for the distinguished Jordanian delegation and the close and collaborative relations between our two countries.
In the view of my delegation, the World Heritage Committee has just taken a major step in the wrong direction. The approval of this nomination is a failure to adhere to the articles and provisions of the World Heritage Convention, specifically, those articles which provide that the nominating state submit only those sites which are "situated in its territory", which require that the consent of "the state concerned" be obtained, and which require that the nominating state provide an effective plan for the protection and management of the site. This Committee has taken an impermissible action and now must abide by the ensuing unfortunate consequences.
These consequences are the intrusion of an element of politization to the World Heritage Committee. Politization may be inevitable to a certain degree in any international institution, but it is our task to attempt to limit, not expand, this problem. The introduction of Middle East politics into this Committee cannot but be to the detriment of the World Heritage Committee and its proud achievements to date.
The U.S. delegation regrets the result of this extraordinary session and asks that the record reveal our full disassociation from its outcome".